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Sunday | 07 January, 2007

Recidivism and Reintegration in the Georgian Penitentiary System: Research and Prospects

Many organizations such as Human Rights Watch have decried the state of Georgian prisons, but very little research has been done into either recidivism or methods of reintegration in Georgia.

According to interviews done by the CRRC fellow, Eka Kavtiashvili, in Georgia, 90% of prisoners are unemployed when they enter prison and do not have any professional qualifications and, therefore, most probably will remain unemployed, even after they are released from jail. Furthermore, medical assistance is extremely limited and sanitary conditions do not meet basic health standards.

Unfortunately, there is no organization in Georgia that helps released prisoners to reintegrate into the workforce. Moreover, regardless of the fact that only 9.7% of prisoners have obtained a tertiary degree and only 48% a secondary degree the prisoners, even the ones who are under age, cannot receive any education while in prison.

Unfortunately, the researcher was not able to obtain statistical data showing the rate of recidivism. However, according to those familiar with the penitentiary system, the percentage of such prisoners is very high. Due to the fact that reintegration programs do not exist in Georgia, most of those released from jails cannot find work and cannot reintegrate into mainstream society and, therefore, commit a crime again.

The fellow stresses the need to create reintegration programs for prisoners in Georgia, however, she suggests that a necessary precursor to such programs involves improving living conditions in prisons, creating employment as well as educational programs within the prisons, and increasing and improving access to medical care. Kavtiashvili also emphasizes the necessity of involving psychologists and social workers in counseling prisoners.

For more information about the Georgian penitentiary system you can get in touch with the fellow directly.